After years spend building up a successful family business, many want to pass on their success to their next generation of family members. Unfortunately, conflicts in family businesses are likely to occur when the owner and other family members begin to consider and examine the transfer of the ownership and control of the business. One of the largest conflicts to result often rises in situations where there are two or more children in line to take charge and sibling rivalry erupts. However, in planning the succession of a business, the transition may go smoother with the creation of a trust outlining the steps to be taken in the succession.
The advantage of a business trust is that a plan would have been put in place in the case of an unexpected death. However, there is still a problem with choosing which child to take charge of the family business. One of the greatest challenges in choosing which child to take over is their lack of experience, though this issue can be addressed with the following tips.
- First Option: Trial Run
- You can give each child about six months or so to be in charge.
- Objectively list the qualities that you are looking for before the trial begins.
- Also, make sure to let the other employees know that the child is in charge.
- Second Option: Test and Interview the Candidates
- Put the siblings through a series of written tests.
- Also, interview each candidate in order to determine who would be the best choice for taking over the business
- Third Option: Leave It Up to the Children
- If there are several children, a good option may be to allow them to set up a board and let them choose who they believe would be the best successor.
- This can even include outside advisors.
- Fourth Option: Have a Trustee in Place
- Put a Trust in place with a trustee running the business until he or she believes the children are ready to take over
The options above are just a few possibilities that a family business owner can try. Nevertheless, they may be able to help family business owners who are troubled by the fear that a child cannot develop the leadership qualities necessary to run the family business. But after getting through this first hurdle and putting these details in a trust, the owner will no longer have to worry about succession of the family business as they will be in capable hands.
Estate planning is a highly complex area of law. If you are interested in creating a trust for your family business or have any questions regarding your current estate plan, please contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri for further information. The attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri have decades of experience handling complex estate planning matters, including family business trusts, and we are happy to offer you a free consultation. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may detail general legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Source: Charles D. Fox, Keeping It In The Family: Business Succession Planning, SS039 ALI-ABA (2011)